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The Bible does not support such concepts as “social justice, “critical race theory,” and “diversity.” These are all concepts that emerge directly out of naturalistic philosophy and are the result of motivations that actually run contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
This is not to say that Christians are against helping people or eliminating racial injustice and inequality. In fact, Christians have been on the forefront of promoting justice and equality since the faith first emerged. But “social justice” is not actual justice, “critical race theory” is not about racial equality, and “diversity” is not about equal opportunity. In fact, all three of these things promote a political agenda based on non-Christian beliefs.
The fact is, the reason Christians throughout the ages have been on the forefront of helping the down and out in society has nothing to do with using “works” in order gain God’s good graces. Salvation, according to the Bible, is based on individuals entering into a personal relationship with God based on the atoning work of Christ on the cross. When a person receives Christ, they are spiritually transformed and become “new creatures in Christ.” With that comes a new motivation that moves Christians to help others. Helping people, in biblical theology, is an expression of salvation, not its source.
But there is a whole segment of self-identified Christians (and in some cases it is made up of entire denominations) that have bought into these “works based concepts,” and are attempting to make that the central message of the Christian faith. Their standard assertion is that Jesus came to help “the least of these,” and doing that is the primary purpose for the existence of the church. For these people, “helping the down and out” (or disenfranchised) is the ultimate Christians can do. It is, itself, Christian salvation. So just where do these false ideas come from that have invaded many churches?
Naturalism is the belief that the natural universe is all that exists. It is atheistic and focused entirely on what goes on in the natural universe. It is the underlying worldview notion of belief systems such as Secular Humanism, Existentialism, Postmodernism, and Marxism. You would think that these beliefs would not have any way to insert themselves into groups that claim to be Christian, as the belief in “no God” is quite contrary to the Christian belief in God. But it has managed to enter through a back door.
In academia, new philosophies enter, are entertained, and debated all the time. When naturalistic philosophy became a thing in academic circles, some instructors in institutions of higher learning began playing around with it – including some professors in theological schools. In these schools, certain scholars began trying to interpret the Bible using some of these naturalistic concepts. Typically, they didn’t just throw out the Bible, but they did begin to accept the naturalistic concepts, then started interpreting the Bible based on them. They did this by keeping the biblical vocabulary, but redefining key words to mean different things. For instance, God became “the ground of being,” and grace became “human action in the world.” With these redefinitions, theologians could still speak in the biblical terms that church people were familiar with, while espousing beliefs that were not actually Christian.
Over time, many of those who were sitting in the pews listening to pastors trained this way, themselves began to see the Bible through this naturalistic lens. The particular naturalistic beliefs that inform social justice, critical race theory, and diversity is Marxism. Marxist ideas turned the idea of liberty in the Bible to “liberation.” Biblical liberty relates to the freedom people have to individually choose Christ. Liberation, on the other hand, came to refer to freeing the politically and economically “oppressed” from those who were the political and economic oppressors. From there, the very concept of salvation became a temporal political fight against the powerful in this world, rather than a means for gaining eternal life in Christ.
And now there exists a lot of “woke” churches that completely buy into this theological heresy. Their primary focus is to promote Socialism in government, eliminate national borders, overthrow the powerful in corporations and government, and stamp out any vestige of Christianity that does not conform to their beliefs.
You probably know some of these people. When they promote social justice, critical race theory, and diversity to you, they are not merely engaging a spiritual discussion in the way you would normally think of it. Oh, it is spiritual all right, but it is not Christian. And if you want to have any hope of countering these dangerous, non-Christian ideas, you will have to get up to speed on them and learn how to express the truth in terms that make sense to them.
If we desire to make an impact on our increasingly anti-Christian culture, we are going to have to begin training ourselves to reach into the lives of people who not only think differently than we do, but who actually conceive of reality in a different way. In order to reach a world that is increasingly losing its entire understanding of Christian concepts, we are going to have to intentionally and totally reimagine our approach to Christian discipleship. It is now time to begin taking that process seriously.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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